Slacking Away

Well in a previous post, I pointed out my plan to not work so hard at work anymore since it didn’t seem to be an effective usage of my energy based on the flaws in our performance review system.  I think I used the term coasting, but slacking would also cover it.  One particular astute person commented that I might find myself out of a job if I wasn’t careful, which was a valid point.

So the trick was a slack away at my job a bit, but not too much as I might find myself out of job.  Well another cycle of my performance review is over and I got exactly the same rating as last year.  Ironically, with about a magnitude less effort on my part (and yes, I mean magnitude like logarithmic scale) so I would say my slacking was just about bang on.  I even got a raise this year (which is better than last where they gave to us and then took it away).  As an aside, I timed this perfectly this year as there was no difference between the top performance people and my raise (again supporting my theory that the process currently discourages people from being exceptional performers).

Now I basically go into to work, do my job until the day is done and whatever isn’t complete will have to wait until tomorrow.  I avoid overtime like the plague, I don’t put in that extra effort I used to on projects and I don’t even bother thinking two steps head of most of the other people.  The result is my job stress is basically dropped like a stone and I have to say I like it.

Perhaps the only interesting constructive feedback I got on my performance was regarding my interactions with some other people in the department.  Apparently,  I believe the term they used was “abrupt” with some people.  Which is fair since in the last year since my tolerance for office politics has tanked to a all time low. I’m not crude, I just won’t bother playing the game.  But ironically, my boss noted he felt he was reaching to find something to say with regards to that comment.  He doesn’t mind my tendency to get to the point in the slightest and nor does my co-workers who I spend the most time with.

So overall I’m putting in a lot less effort and enjoying my day job a lot more since I don’t stress over it.  I now aim for ‘good work’ not ‘great’ or ‘hard’, just good enough.  I just wished I had discovered this pace of work years ago, but oh well, I know it now and I’m enjoying my last few years of work because of it.

How much effort do you put into your job?  Would you slack off at the end of your career or not?  Why?

11 thoughts on “Slacking Away”

  1. Incompetent management means slacking off was obviously the right answer as soon as I realized that hard work was only rewarded with more hard work while the slackers were ignored for work assignments. Early retirement is even better, though.

  2. Hope the taxpayers and home owners who pay your salary appreciate this post. There are problems in any system – but you can still maintain a work ethic and some personal integrity.

    The world doesn’t exist solely for your benefit..

  3. Great attitude to have. Karma will be a bitch. You’ll pay for this shitty attitude at some point.

  4. I agree with your post. There comes a time when giving it your best, just isn’t worth it. It can be very hard being paid the same as those who are incompetent. After a while, you realize it is not worth the effort. Good for you!
    VI retired at 38 in 2004, and now have a small seasonal business that is more a hobby than job. The sooner you can get out of that toxic work environment, the better. Personally, I’ve wanted to retire since my first real job at 14. Being financially independent is great. So glad, I’m not a wage slave anymore.

    “I am not a number; I am a FREE MAN!”. Hope you can escape the “Village” soon. Your friend No. 6 🙂

  5. I started to feel a lot of burnout in my job, however, as a health care provider I could not conscionably provide poor care to my patients, but I started putting in as few hours as possible into non-clinical work for the practice. Eventually it became possible to go to part time work and now I feel that I have the energy to contribute in all areas of my job, and fully participate in the running of the practice…. it’s all about balancing effort vs. time vs. reward and if the time or reward isn’t there, then the effort can’t be there just for the sake of effort.

  6. I can relate, Tim. In the last 5 years of my career before I ERed in 2008, I toned down my effort at work. It went from staying late a lot (without extra pay) and putting an extraordinary effort to just putting a good, solid effort without all the staying late a lot. I knew my pay raises would go down from above average to average which was fine. I had also gone from working full-time to part-time, so I was already willing and able to earn less money, a lot less money. So what’s the big deal about forgoing an extra 1% pay raise when I took a 40% pay cut?

    In my final 18 months working, I had one main project to work on and I worked hard to get it done before I left because nobody else could pick it up in the middle had I not finished it. I still didn’t stay late a lot to get it done, just made sure I got it done before I left on my last day (and I finished it less than hour before I walked out the door for the last time!).

    Working part-time kept me away from the office politics, not that I was big into that in my full-time days. My work stress dropped a lot, too, simply by not being around much. I still had the dang commute to contend with, something I greatly despised. Reducing THAT to zero was the best part of ERing. 🙂

  7. I think perhaps some people misunderstand when I say I’m now slacking. I still get my job done, I have utterly no ethical issues with what I’m doing. I just don’t go beyond getting the job done.

    I used to anticipate what people would need long before they asked for it and go well beyond my role to meet some fairly insane deadlines. Now I don’t bother doing that since I often get hung up by others anyway so being that far ahead wasn’t helping anyone. I realized my extra effect wasn’t making me any more effective at my job, so I stopped.

    My personal standards were WAY to high compared to everyone else so I realized it my mainly me setting the standards so I lowered the bar. I’ve had no negative feedback on the change from others, it was all about me stopping trying to please everyone all the time.

  8. Tim,

    Now that you can tolerate your job better, does this mean that you are not going to retire early? lol

  9. Good Mourning Tim;

    One might question the management that allows slackers to slack off when people like yourself found the means and ways to get the job done. That works for a while but when you realize that you are pulling the other people along with you rather than them pulling themselves, or at the very least trying to get their job done to “earn” their salary, then the light bulb just might go from the 100 watts to an 80 watt. Still enough to read but not enough to light up the entire room.
    I am approaching retirement and have very little ambition to get the job done at present. The bosses seem to think that if they ignore me I will just keep on going. At times I wonder when they will realize that they need to train someone to replace me before I just walk out the door.


  10. Wow, I don’t know how NOT stressing, not working overtime, and not grinding your fingers to the bone becomes a question of “ethics” and “integrity” to some people. Has Internet thought finally led only to extremes? The graveyard is full of “indispensable” and “irreplaceable” workaholics. Thankfully my team lead is pretty laid back. If I begin to worry about workload he’ll say something like, “A day’s a day. You can only do what you can in it.”

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